Gyro-Stabilized PTZ Gimbal for UAVs


I am an ex-USAF Avionics Sensors guy, and I have always wanted a gyro stabilized laser targeting system. Now that I am all grown up, I'll settle for a gyro stabilized camera.


A little looking, and I found some nice UAV equipment.It's a little out of my price range at $10,000 for the day system and $20,000 for the FLIR system.


Now I know this is mechanically and electrically easy, but for me this could become time-consuming. Can we make a cost-effective system for our UAVs?


Some examples:


What do you guys think?

Views: 8454

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on July 18, 2011 at 8:17am
It's computationally easy (both ArduCopter and APM already output pan-tilt stabilization channels), but a good mechanical assembly is harder. Regular hobby servos don't cut it.
Comment by Lew Payne on July 18, 2011 at 9:07am
How about starting with the Dunehaven GS-1 stabilized gyros, in a home-brew gimbal mount (or one of the many hobbyist mounts available)?  They might provide a lot of what you want, independent of platform.  There are also a few outrageously priced gimbal systems listed on my poorly categorized blog.
Comment by fibrewire on July 18, 2011 at 10:29am

Those GS-1 stabilized gyros look like they should do the trick. Now to find a lightweight BALANCED ptz mount. balance is the key when working with servos - the further away from the center of gravity, the bigger the servos need to be.


Found another super-expensive company that produces gyro stabilized camera systems - and they have lasers!


Comment by fibrewire on July 18, 2011 at 10:48am

This is the cheapest camera I could find that supports the necessary functions.

I hope I can cram those GS1 servos in there...

Comment by John Arne Birkeland on July 18, 2011 at 10:54am

Those metal/plast outdoor CCTV dome type of pan-tilts are usually very heavy and does not support roll rotation.

The typical UAV gimbal system looks something like this.

Comment by Lew Payne on July 18, 2011 at 5:05pm
It might help if you selected a camera first, and then looked for a suitable gimbal mount.  There are several hobbyist gimbal mounts that will do the trick, as well as many plans (cut it yourself out of thin wood) online.  I don't see how you would build the gimbal mount first, and then select the camera.
Comment by Axure on July 19, 2011 at 4:27am

As for lasers (I assume Robert White means a rangefinder?), wouldn't one of these cheap LIDAR solutions mentioned a few posts before do the job?

Comment by Lew Payne on July 19, 2011 at 5:30pm
@Axure - according to the stated requirements, so would a laser pointer.
Comment by fibrewire on July 19, 2011 at 9:51pm

When i worked on Lantirn pods for the USAF, the lasers weren't that powerful. The wavelength and filters were the most important aspect of the laser target designator / rangefinder.

Comment by fibrewire on July 19, 2011 at 9:57pm

Also, the visible light filters for infrared and lasing were matched. They were made from Beryllium.


One interesting aspect of the Beryllium filters is if dropped, the liquid gold colored filter would explode into pixie dust. Blast doors would be closed in the hanger, and hazmat would be called in to clean up the filter particles. If you are cut by a piece of Beryllium "glass" the cut would never heal, and breathing the stuff is surely fatal, as one's lungs would drown in a death of a thousand cuts.


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